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Introduction: Thesis statement

Here is an example of an Introduction. After reading it, think about its structure.

1. Over the years proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching techniques have been used as an effective method of increasing muscular flexibility. 2. Yet a frequently overlooked component of strength and conditioning programs is the implementation of flexibility exercises. 3. Recent studies have shown that PNF stretching is more beneficial than static stretching in the elongation of muscles (Etnyre & Abraham, 1986; Sady, Wortman & Blanke, 1982; Wallen, Ekblom, Grahn & Nordenborg, 1985). 4. Often PNF stretching is performed in a partner- assisted situation. 5. This can limit a person’s use of PNF stretching if he or she does not have a partner. 6. It can also be time consuming for a team, because only half the team is stretching at once. 7. This article will discuss the use of one PNF stretching technique on an individual basis.

One of the techniques used in PNF stretching is called hold-relax (Sullivan, Marko & Minor, 1982)...
Adapted from
 Ninos, J. (2001). PNF- Self stretching techniques.  Strength and Conditioning Journal, 23(4), 28-29.



1. Can you identify a thesis statement in this text?

2. What is the function of the first sentence?

3. What do you expect the body of the article to discuss?


General Feedback - Comments from lecturer:

Sentence 2. is the thesis.

Sentences 3. - 6. seem to be a justification for the thesis.

Sentence 1. establishes a context for the article.

Sentence 7. announces that one PNF technique will be discussed and the first sentence of the next paragraph names it as hold-relax

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Is this a satisfactory introduction?

The following introduction was written in response to the essay question:

'What is the purpose of public health education and what are the current public health issues that need to be addressed?'

Sample of introduction:

Public health education and public health measures such as immunisation, screening, the imposition of quarantines and travel restrictions, compulsory notification of diseases, and general controls on sanitary supply of food, water and sewerage/waste disposal and environmental controls on housing, provision of public amenities and health services are all undertaken by the state in order to prevent disease and to promote the health of society.


1. Would it be satisfactory for an Introduction?

2. What are its strong features?

3. What are its weaknesses?

General Feedback - Comment from lecturer:

Basically it is not a satisfactory introductory paragraph because it is lacking a concise thesis statement. Perhaps the reader could 'guess' that the first part of the sentence and its very end are the thesis. Grammatically it is not correct to write like this.

Strength: Its strength is that it lists the major points to be discussed but the list is too long. It needs to be broken up into two sentences.

Weakness: Its weakness is that it has no concise controlling idea; the five lines are all one sentence. It is necessary to reduce the number of points to be discussed by being analytical. See module 1 for more information on analysis.

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